Our Whisky Advent Day 24 bottling from 2016 is a bit of a mystery. Distilled in 1991, we have no idea how old it is, and a cursory glance of the internet seems to indicate that no one knows. This is one of just two bottles in the 2016 Whisky Advent Calendar not available for sale. Bottled at 43%, We can only speculate on the oak type.
Glen Scotia is a curiosity, one of the least loved and for a long time one of the most neglected distilleries in Scotland, somehow despite itself, produced some stunning single malt whisky. The distillery lives in the shadow of its much better known neighbour in Campbeltown, Springbank. They were founded around the same time, 1828 in the case of Springbank and 1832 for Glen Scotia. In the late 19th Century Campbeltown was the “Whisky Capital of the World” with nearly 34 active distilleries. By 1934 only Springbank and Glen Scotia remained to struggle on. While Springbank, the oldest family owned distillery in Scotland attained a cult status which survives to this day, Glen Scotia was just the preserve of Independent bottlers, and changed hands numerous times. Until very recently Glen Scotia was one of the most rundown distilleries in Scotland.
About Glen Scotia (Courtesy Gordon MacPhail): “Glen Scotia distillery kept a very stable existence throughout the last century; it belonged to the original licensees until 1895. Then that point forward, however, it changed hands twice, before falling silent, as did many of its neighbours, in the 1920′s. For a while Glen Scotia belonged to the owners of Scapa distillery in Orkney, right at the opposite end of the country. The buildings, including the malt barns and the barley lofts, are Victorian whilst the stillhouse is thought to be original. Glen Scotia maintained cooperage function and there has always been a cooper on the distillery payroll. The distillery has a resident ghost, that of a previous owner, Duncan MacCallum, who drowned himself in Campbeltown Loch in 1930 after losing a fortune in a crooked business deal.”
About MacPhail’s Collection (Courtesy Gordon MacPhail): “‘The MacPhail’s Collection’ is a small and exclusive range of fine single malt scotch whiskies from distilleries throughout Scotland.”
G&M MacPhail’s Collection Glen Scotia 1991- 43% – Unknown Oak Type - Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: creamy, cultured French butter, fresh picked peaches and apple crumble; dried tropical fruits (they are there, but shy), gentle leather and some soft decadent spice; old and dusty, a touch antique-y! Palate: very soft, much more spice than expected surging right off the bat; the tropical fruits are more developed, still dried, but leaping at you; there is some orange tang and lots of dusty sugars, malt and oak; still a little on the antique side the salty tones belly its proximity to Campbeltown lock; the spices become bigger and darker, with that steely-oily-mechanical character Glen Scotia is famous for. Finish: medium in length, light and warming; fading spice, dried fruits and dusty sugars. Comment: not quite as massive and mechanical as some other Glen Scotia’s but an interesting older bottle none the less.” - $24 for a 50ml bottle!
Stay tuned tomorrow, for KWM Whisky Advent Day 25!